Kilian Jornet, a Salomon-sponsored athlete, has embarked on a challenge to complete as many laps around a 400-meter track in Måndalen, Norway for 24 consecutive hours.
The Phantasm 24 running challenge, named after the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm road racing shoe that Jornet will wear through the run, begins November 21 and will live stream on Salomon’s website.
“My motivation is to go outside of my comfort zone, to try different things and see what I am able to do, whether that is climbing at high altitude or, in this case, running on flat ground,” Jornet said. “It’s fun to discover different things I can do, and training on the flat is a good test as well as an opportunity to learn more about nutrition and pacing, and then try to apply those things to different activities, like even mountaineering projects.
The stadium will be closed to spectators during the run due to COVID-19 restrictions. As the project is weather dependent, the current target date is subject to change. For updates go to Salomon or Kilian Jornet websites.
Officially, the longest distance run in a 24-hour period was set in 1997 by Yiannis Kouros who ran 188.59 miles.
“It’s so many miles, that I cannot even visualize it,” Jornet said. “I’ve seen Yiannis’ splits so I want to keep up with that as long as I can. I know the speed I need to keep every hour, so then I know the pace for every mile and every lap. Of course, the first 10 hours will be a bit faster and will then slow down every hour after, so I have a plan and I know what I want to run every hour. The big thing is to not have any muscle problems and be able to eat without having big down periods.”
Accustomed to running famed races like Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), Hardrock 100, Western States 100, and global mountain marathons.
“For mountain athletes, we have a big motor, so the cardio and endurance come more easily,” Jornet says. “It’s mostly working on the speed because my legs aren’t used to moving this fast. To prepare, I’ve been doing three days of speed work each week at the track or on roads. Additionally, the form you run with on the flat is very different from how you run in the mountains, where you have to pass over obstacles and adapt to terrain changes.”
Much of Jornet’s training research has centered around minimizing injuries that might come with the repetitive motion of flat-ground running.
“I think the biggest challenge is to be able to train consistently and not have injuries because the transition to flat ground is very hard for the muscles,” Jornet said. “The training has been a bit frustrating the last few months going from injury to injury to injury. I have had good blocks of training, and then I would get injured and have to rest. After the 10 km race, I had to stop training and rest due to an injury. Now, the plan is to do one good week of training and see how my body feels, then rest the muscle tissues and recover for the attempt.”
In his 24-hour attempt, Jornet will use Salomon’s S/LAB Phantasm, a lightweight road racing shoe that will be released in the spring of 2021. He has been using the shoe for several months during his track and road running training sessions.
“I tested the prototypes of the S/LAB Phantasm a year ago and now I’m using the same shoe that will be available in spring to the public,” Jornet says. “It’s great for road running. It’s a light, very reactive and well-balanced shoe with good cushioning, which is important when you are training longer on hard surfaces. And the grip is really good, even in wet conditions, which is important.”
A racing flat developed with top athletes has a 6mm drop, focuses on weight, breathability and fast transition, achieved with a curved, rocker profile and Salomon’s Energy Surge, a light, responsive foam. A nearly invisible upper made of TPU Mesh gives the shoe a breathable, lightweight design that comes in at only 199g.
“It’s cool to see Salomon doing different things like this now in running footwear,” Jornet says. “Some things that they learned from their mountain-specific footwear—such as lightness, ideal shape and the breathability of the upper—have been applied here with the Phantasm. And some things from the road, like cushioning, will help improve their mountain footwear.”
On the day of the attempt, Jornet will switch directions every four hours on the track. In preparation for the unpredictable Norwegian weather, he has selected a Salomon apparel for the run including a S/Lab NSO tee, Sense long sleeve tee, S/Lab shorts, S/Lab NSO mid-tights, Active Beanie, Pulse Glove, Haloes Down Hybrid Hoodie, and Outline Down Agile FZ.
Suunto who has been one of Jornet’s major supporters for more than a decade and will serve as the official timekeeper of the Phantasm 24 challenge.
Photo courtesy Salomon